Welcome, Maison de Naissance (Haiti)!

In the Midst of the StormGBHF Logo

A new partner with Global Force for Healing is Global Birthing Home Foundation, which supports a birthing center, Maison de Naissance, in the small SW rural community of Torbeck, Haiti. Almost 5,000 babies have been born at the center since opening in 2004, with zero maternal deaths (globalbirthinghomefoundation.org).

Last October, Hurricane Matthew made a direct hit on Maison de Naissance. It withstood the storm, but not without severe damage to the power and water systems, and with every large tree on the grounds blown down. Through it all, the birthing center kept functioning, and it even became a temporary shelter for several weeks for as many as 150 people. Throughout it all, babies were still delivered and mothers and babies received essential care.

It took over 3 months and 4 relief trips to get all the systems functioning at full capacity, and during this time, the staff kept the clinic functioning even if a baby needed to be born by candlelight.

MN photo 1 of 2Rosena Baptiste, the Directrice, and Jim Grant, Executive Director of Global Birthing Home Foundation, made food relief distributions to the local community 4 times, as this very rural area was overlooked by the international relief agencies.

The harsh effects of Hurricane Matthew still linger for those served by Maison de Naissance. Recently, a pregnant woman shared, “I have lost my animals, a goat and a cow. My house has broken down and now I am living in a sort of tent that leaks.” Yet, she shares how Maison de Naissance has helped with prenatal care and vitamins, “It has helped a lot!”

Jim returned after his 4th relief trip in early January, working to finalize repairs, and reflect on how vital this oasis of healthcare is to the surrounding community: “We have always been very proud of the fact that we could offer modern, professional, and high quality maternal health care services in region where such services were either inaccessible or unaffordable. We never expected to operate as a relief shelter and services provider, but again, our community had nowhere else to turn. When asked by USAID if we could provide security for a distribution of cooking and hygiene supplies from the birth center, I replied, ‘We have been staging food and water relief operations out of Maison de Naissance since the hurricane, and our security comes from the trust we have built within the community’. They delivered the supplies that week, and everyone pitched in to ensure an orderly distribution of the goods.” Jim Grant, Executive Director

To contact Maison de Naissance: janice@globalbirthinghomefoundation.org.

Birth Story from Uganda: Twins

A woman from a distant, remote village came to Grace Family Clinic for prenatal care.  She was in her third trimester and near her delivery date, yet this was her first visit.  When the midwife examined her, she found 2 heartbeats.  She explained to the mother that she needed an ultra sound to confirm twins.  The husband resisted – he was concerned about the cost (we do not have ultrasound equipment at Sunrise Centre) but after much persuasion from our staff, he finally accepted.  

The mother returned two days later with the ultrasound results, which confirmed twins and revealed one baby was underweight.  The mother had not taken any prenatal or iron supplements and her diet was restricted due to lack of money.  Sunrise advised the mother to deliver at a bigger hospital as her pregnancy was at high risk for complications that we are not equipped to handle, but the husband refused. He was worried about the high cost (up to 2 months salary).  He said they would get a Traditional Birth Attendant from the village.

The mother came back to the clinic one week later in advanced labour after trying to deliver at home.  Grace Family Health Centre took her in and provided her with the compassionate care.  She delivered both babies, one was  2.6 kilos the other only 1.5 kilos., however after delivering she had post part hemorrhaging.  The midwives gave her oxytocin and then misoprostol but could not stop the bleeding.  An ambulance was called and our midwife accompanied the mother and twins to the nearest hospital, however they did not have blood for a transfusion so turned them away.  They continued to a second hospital but with the same result…no blood.  The situation was deteriorating, the smallest baby passed away and the mother was also slipping away.  The midwife continued to care for the second baby and begged the mother to hold on.

They arrived at the third hospital and thankfully were admitted.  The mother and surviving twin were stabilized, given a transfusion and survived. The father came to take the smallest baby for burial but was very thankful to have his wife and daughter in good hands. There was sadness but also celebration.

While we mourn with the family and Grace Clinic staff, we also join you in celebrating the miracle of saving the mama and one of the twins! Thanks to Nicole Van Seters for another empowering story from the field! With love as the force, Kay

Giving Thanks for the Birth of Joy

Success Story: Baby Joy (see photo courtesy of Sunrise Centre/Nicole VanSeters)

A 19 year old girl named Ruth came to our Grace Family Medical clinic in central Uganda to deliver.  Her husband abandoned her after finding that she was pregnant.  Her mother, who is elderly, was taking care of her but had very little money.  They could not afford to purchase a birth kit and came with no supplies.  They had tried another clinic but had been turned away because they could not pay.

Ruth was in full labour so Grace Family Health Centre welcomed her and provided her with everything she needed.  The delivery went smoothly with no complications and Ruth delivered a healthy baby girl, whom she named Joy, because she delivered well and they were happy to have her.  Grandmother, mother and daughter were very grateful to Sunrise.   Baby Joy was immunized, Momma was given postnatal care and lactation counseling, and advised to return for future care.  

Congratulations to Mama, Baby Joy and to the Sunrise Centre team!!!

Beyond Red & Blue: You Are My Favorite Color!


My 3-year-old granddaughter and I have a game where we ask, “What’s your favorite color”? Lately her favorite and mine has been blue. This past Sunday night she said her favorite color is red. (She had earlier told me her other grandma’s favorite color is red). Without making me wrong for preferring blue she said, “Gramma K, YOU are my favorite color!” That’s how my new mantra was born: “YOU ARE MY FAVORITE COLOR!”

The significance for the US election only occurred to me later as I saw the electoral map filled in with red and blue. Will you join me in going beyond color or party affiliation, to unity in diversity as Gandhi said? If not now, then when? If not us, then whom?Multiracial Hands Making a Circle

“But the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the beloved community. It is this type of spirit and this type of LOVE that can transform opposers into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age. It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men.” Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s never too late for miracles, and the timing would never be better!

Ashland Compassion Tour a Success!


David and Tour Co-sponsors

Ashland was the 16th stop on David Breaux’s two-year North American journey. Global Force for Healing was joined by co-organizers Ashland Culture of Peace Commission (ACPC) and Unity in Ashland. Collectively we made it possible for five diverse faith/spiritual communities, two radio stations, the Ashland Library, Bloomsbury Bookstore, and ACPC participants to have meaningful conversations on compassion.

David continued his regular practice of standing on one street corner and asking passersby for their concepts of compassion. He estimated 30% of people he approached wrote their concepts in the notebook he keeps. This practice began in Davis, California and resulted in the book Compassion, Davis, CA (2010).tctbloomsbury2


To learn more about the Ashland Tour experience feel free to contact kay@globalforceforhealing.org . For more about David or the Tour: compassionis.comThis community-wide experience highlighted our “mission in action” in Ashland. Stay tuned for future initiatives!db-rabbi-joshua


Local Laundry Love: Clean Comfort and Community

“If I had clean clothes, I think people would treat me like a human being.” With this statement the nationwide movement called “LAUNDRY LOVE” was launched in southern California in 2004. To date 450,000 people have been cared for and 600,000 loads of laundry have been done.laundry-love-potluck

The idea is simple yet profound: To provide quarters for a local laundromat while sharing conversation and homemade soup with folks for whom the cost of clean clothes is unaffordable. Many of the regular guests are without a home and are deeply appreciative of this act of kindness. Says Kate W, “This is awesome because it’s so expensive to wash clothes. It feels like community here…It’s a family feeling.”

In Ashland, Oregon First Congregational United Church of Christ (“UCC”) practices “laundry love” the second Saturday of each month. Volunteers have found that the $500 monthly investment from collecting quarters from church members, epitomizes love and compassion in action. Says church volunteer Alex Reid, “It levels the playing field. We have great conversations with women folding their clothing…We talk about life, marriage, how to raise children, who you’re voting for. They’re very grateful. I’ve had people give me their last crumpled-up dollar and tell me to pass it to the next person.” (excerpted from Ashland Daily Tidings, October 17, 2016, page 3).laundry-love-alex

When I use the washer and dryer in my garage I am even more grateful for the luxury of clean clothes and towels, and happy when a neighbor or friend borrows my washer and dryer. “Laundry love” indeed! For more information and inspiration: laundrylove.org

What not-so-random act of kindness inspires you today? “Since you get more joy out of giving to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness you are able to give.” Eleanor RooseveltMultiracial Hands Making a Circle

Shanti Uganda Joins Our Network; Midwifery Care Embracing Traditional Practices

kayshanti2Welcome, Shanti Uganda! The Shanti Uganda Society began with a vision to unite traditional birthing practices with modern best practices and provide birth education in communities impacted by war, poverty and HIV/AIDS in Uganda.The organization was founded by Natalie Angell-Besseling in 2008, a yoga teacher & doula with a background in International Development.

After a trip to Uganda in 2007 volunteering as a doula at a local hospital, Natalie connected with a group of women who were making paper beads in Kampala. This initial meeting led her to Kasana, Luweero where after working with the community, the first women were selected from a group of 600 HIV positive women to form Shanti Uganda’s first Income Generating Group. With the support of our women’s group and the guidance of community members, the organization began the planning stages for a community birth centre.

After purchasing one acre of land in Nsaasi Village, the Shanti Uganda Birth House was completed in the spring of 2010. We opened our doors fall 2010, expanding our programs to include a full service maternity centre, community garden and teen girls workshops. We catch an average of 30 babies a month.kayshanti5

We support a birth model that is based on the midwifery model of care and embraces best practices and traditional birth methods. Our core values are:

Growth: We are constantly growing and learning. We commit to learning from our mistakes and embracing education as a way for personal and community growth.

Integrity: We are accountable to our supporters, partners and the community we serve and commit to 100% transparency and truthfulness

Jane Drichta, Dir. Ugandan Operations

Sustainability: We honour the earth and respect the environment in which we work. We commit to deep community based development rooted in best practices.

 For more information: http://shantiuganda.org

Hope Foundation: Providing Healthcare Access to 1,000,000 in Bangladesh!


hope4bangladesh-photoA heartfelt welcome to Hope Foundation for Women & Children of Bangladesh, one of two new participants in our Healthy, Compassionate Birthing network (hopeforbangladesh.org)! Here’s a short profile of this amazing organization founded by Dr. Iftiker Mahmood. He is a Miami-based pediatrician originally from Bangladesh:

HOPE Foundation for Women and Children of Bangladesh works in the southeast region of Bangladesh to provide critical healthcare for underserved populations through its charitable health centers. HOPE is heavily engaged in building local capacity of health workers at its training center to train midwives, community health workers, and others.

HOPE’s vision is to ensure that every woman has access to quality maternal healthcare. HOPE provides antenatal and postnatal care, normal delivery, emergency obstetric care, family planning, maternal health education, and nutritional counseling, among other services to thousands of women. HOPE is the sole provider of obstetric fistula repair in the area. It also cares for vulnerable children and the general population at its health centers.

Stay tuned for a more detailed post very soon. With love as the force, Kay


World Breastfeeding Week (8/1-7, 2016)!

We are so excited to celebrate mamas, babies and breastfeeding! Our deeply rooted human instincts and the force of love are powerfully expressed during and following the beautiful process of birth. What miracles are more awe-inspiring than the power and timing of a mother’s ability to breastfeed a child? After a baby is born, the mother’s body knows to begin producing the perfect ingredients to nourish a child, and the baby will use all its strength to instinctively get to the milk. This is beautifully demonstrated by the famous “breast crawl,” as shown here:


As a future nurse and a global citizen, my deepest passion lies in maternal-child healthcare. My value and passion for working with mothers and children comes from my very own mother! She delivered each of us three children naturally and safely, breastfed us all exclusively for six months, and continued to breastfeed past one year. We’re all healthy, happy and have a wonderful bond with our mama. She believes in the ability of every woman to successfully breastfeed and to produce enough, as do I!

Breastfeeding with Ibu Robin Lim, Bali

What’s so amazing about breastfeeding? 

Benefits to the mama: Reduces breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes type II, postpartum depression and can serve as a moderately reliable form of birth control for up to six months when done exclusively.

Benefits to the baby: Both long and short-term! Breast milk provides babies with the immunity they need to protect them from the outside world, as well as all the nutrients necessary to grow and develop. We also know that breastfeeding can reduce the risk for chronic illnesses later in life, such as diabetes and obesity.

Cost: Breastfeeding is available and more cost-effective than formula or other alternatives.

Breastfeeding 3Global Trends Breastfeeding success directly influences and contributes to the health of the individual, the family, community and global society at large. While the enduring benefits are so clear, only 40% of the world’s population exclusively breastfeeds until six months of age (WHO, July 2015). Support and encouragement must be provided from the moment of birth. This often starts with the birth attendant or healthcare provider. Thanks to the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, over 152 countries are now working to ensure that their hospitals and providers facilitate mother and baby health, including exclusive breastfeeding, since we know breast is best! https://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/

Wellbeing from Day 1 This year’s focus for the celebration of breastfeeding treasures the importance of wellbeing from the very first day of life. We strongly endorse exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, as promoted by the World Health Organization. Because Global Force for Healing values families, mothers and babies, and because we know the importance of breastfeeding, we are currently working with organizations in our Healthy, Compassionate Birthing network to create a project to support and encourage exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. Stay tuned to hear more exciting news regarding this soon! http://www.globalforceforhealing.org/project-one/

Breastfeeding w/proud Bapak-2.jpegSummary “Breastfeeding is not only the cornerstone of a child’s development; it is also the foundation of a country’s development”worldbreastfeedingweek.org. Please join us in helping make breastfeeding a universal practice!

WBW2016logo (4) Other Resources

  1. “10 Facts about breastfeeding”: (WHO, July 2015): http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/breastfeeding/en/
  2. Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative: https://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/
  3. World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action: http://waba.org.my
  4. World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7, 2016): http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org

Guest Blogger: Sadie Knights, Senior Nursing Student, OHSU, and Summer Intern for Global Force for Healing. Sadie is also incoming President of Nursing Students without Borders’ Ashland, Oregon campus